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Math 98: A difficult, but not impossible feat to conquer

By: Ruth Green

Math is a topic many people love to hate. As a non-traditional student, returning to school after a long hiatus meant I would need to be tested on my knowledge of basic math skills in order to be admitted -there was no way to avoid it.

Failing on the first try, I had to take the COMPASS exam a second time before scoring high enough for admittance to GPC. There is a need to learn and know the basics of math because with all of its obstacles – math is essentially a good thing.

My first semester was extremely challenging. There math topics I had never seen or heard of as a high school student in 1976.

Hearing about polynomials was like learning a new language. The only thing I had retained was the rules of negative and positive inte- gers and that was hard enough. The thing about math is this: the way to understand is simple – you must do it.

Most people do not understand why they must take a math course at all, especially when their major has nothing to do with math.

As a first year journalism major, I have come to realize and appreciate the fact that Math 98 and solving mathematical equations is universal; therefore, it is something we as students need to know.

Ebbie Alex Wilcox, a second- year film and business management student put it eloquently when he came to one of my math classes to offer insight on passing what is re- garded as a difficult subject:

“You have got to apply yourself, by putting in the time needed to mastering the topics, remembering and retaining the numbers. Not only do you need to attend classes, being mentally present while there, it is crucial that you hand in worksheets, and go to tutoring if need- ed. In addition to the time spend in ALEKS during the week, you need to double up on weekends.”

Doubling up on weekends means spending countless hours working out problems and doing whatever is necessary to add that topic to your pie. In my opinion they call it a pie because when you get that right answer – it is sweet!

Utilizing all of my resources including the Learning and Tutoring Center (LTC), Project RAISE and TRiO tutoring sessions have been instrumental in helping me get over my fear of many topics.

Letia Underwood, a first-year radiology student feels strongly that the concepts of Math 98 are too varied and complex and need to be taught in the traditional manner, with a teacher in front of the class giving step by step instructions on how to solve problems.

Rising to the occasion of dealing with math has taught me how to bear down, go through the process step by step and arrive at the correct solution. It may be easy for some people, but for those of us with ‘high math anxiety,’ it’s enough to make you want to give up. Some people, sadly enough, do just that – give up. For me giving up is not an option.

I am on my second attempt at passing Math 98. It is very challenging to say the least, but one thing I can say is, I am applying myself daily because I know that’s what it’ll take to get a passing grade in a subject that strikes fear in me.

I know I will pass Math 98 this time around and so can you – you’ve simply got to apply yourself.

About Farhin Lilywala

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